What Matters: July's MedTech News You Need to Know

Overheard at GMM HQ

"If anyone needs a KOL regarding wine pairings for the In-N-Out menu, I'm available."– Ronda Fallon, taking a cue from our latest blog on the importance of Key Opinion Leaders.

WHAT THE INDUSTRY IS BUZZING ABOUT

(HOUSE) CALL ME, MAYBE?

MM&M recently hosted a "leadership exchange" focused on better understanding the millennial doctor. Main takeaways? The latest generation of doctors have been raised on group practices (including hospital settings) and the Internet, which translates to a more team-based approach to care, greater work-life balance, and a more digital approach to communication with patients. When asked about house calls, one millennial MD simply responded, "LOL."

PATIENTS GOT 99 PROBLEMS

Patients are more demanding than ever, thanks to the "WebMDification" of the consumer. Thankfully, millennial doctors, having received self-esteem boosting "Spirit of the Game" trophies throughout Little League, seem able to stand their ground and prescribe appropriate care despite having some patients come in with a ream of paper and their pre-determined treatment plan.

THE 411

Times have changed, folks. From EMRs to navigating patient portals, to app-based medical journal interfaces, the millennial doctor is a digital native who's never set foot in a solo practice. While house calls may be out of the question, Snapchat may not be.

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IMPLANTS FOR BIGGER … SOBRIETY RATES

The FDA recently approved a matchstick-sized implant that will deliver small, daily doses of buprenorphine in patients suffering from opioid addiction. The drug, which helps bridge patients off opioids, is currently available in easily abused oral formulations, and is so highly regulated that many doctors are limited to prescribing it to 30 patients at a time. Because no one wants to throw good drugs after bad.

AM I TRIPPING?

Not only is this super real, it's a hot button issue. The CDC reports that 78 people die daily in the U.S. as a result of opioid use disorder, and total societal costs exceed $55 billion, factors which have made the disease — and related treatment strategies — a talking point in the current presidential race since opioid alternatives can be hard to find and cost-prohibitive for addicts and physicians. So far, building a wall hasn't been suggested as a viable solution for addicts, but there's plenty of time until November. 

THE 411

The new implant, combined with even newer research suggesting that science might be able to manipulate decision making in order to prevent an addict from making unhealthy choices (you know, like doing drugs, for example), points to hope that better solutions for curbing the opioid addiction epidemic are on the way. 

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NON-DIGITAL IS SO 2015

A new report reveals that digital health startups are on track to have a record year in 2016, potentially accounting for $8.1 billion in VC funds, a $2.3 billion increase over last year with the majority of that going to companies in the seed and angel stage.

NO SNEAKERS, NO SWEATSHIRT, NO SERVICE 

California is unsurprisingly home to over 50 of the year-to-date VC deals, thanks in large part to Silicon Valley-based VC action. San Francisco based Jawbone, of fitness activity tracker fame, raised over $100 million, for example. Related: We totally logged our recommended 10,000 steps pulling all of the info together . . . if we're counting mouse clicks and internet navigation.

THE 411

Move over, "Publish or Perish." Now it's "Digital or Die." As incubators like Healthbox and TMCx continue to foster innovation in the digital health landscape, we're going to see more and more companies arrive — and thrive — on the scene. Strap on your fitness tracker and get ready for the ride.

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GOOD TO KNOW

Friends don't let friends drink irresponsibly, which is good news for anyone who's been accused of Facebooking after an extended happy hour. BACtrack has recently developed a wearable device called Skyn, which uses fuel cell technology to measure transdermal alcohol content, which can then be reported to a smart phone. "I swear I'm not texting, I'm sobering up."





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